Monthly Archives: May 2008

The teacher told Psinga: “When you tell Whatsisface ‘A lot of Thingamajiggies are Whatchamacallits’, Whatsisface resists, and says ‘How do you know? Have you asked a lot of Thingamajiggies? Are you saying this because you are yourself a Whatchamacallit?’. Whatsisface doesn’t want to pause to understand that:
i. Whatever else Whatsisface considers a Thingamajiggy to be, is also a type of Whatchamacallit.
ii. You may have traversed an inferential distance and arrived at the conclusion ‘A lot of Thingamajiggies are Whatchamacallits’, and may not be starting with the assumption that ‘A lot of Thingamajiggies are Whatchamacallits.'”

Psinga instinctively started to resist, but suddenly stopped short, for he understood. He said “I must take care not to be like Whatsisface.” And he took his first step across the inferential bridge.


[Jail. Inmate Bulldog walks up to inmate Newbie. Bulldog is a hulk of a man, with false teeth, gruff baritone voice; his sunburnt skin is covered with swathes of scars and tattoos. A Hulk Hogan type towering mass of testosterone. Newbie is an excuse for a man, deathly pale, speaks in squeaks and whimpers; spectacles too heavy for his face. Napolean Dynamite type. They’ve been forced to introduce themselves to each other by the warden.]

Newbie: Wh-wh-what you in for, sir?

Bulldog: Terrorism, genocide, baby-killing, drug-peddling, running over 5 wives for insurance money, producing chemical weapons in my bathroom…

Newbie: I..I..

Bulldog: ..and I kicked a 3 legged puppy on the way here. What did you do, you little *$%#$?

Newbie: I.. (clears throat) computed the value of pi to the 1349193136497th decimal place..

Bulldog: So? that’s not a crime, you ^$#% $%%!

Newbie: ..and then.. (there is lightning and thunder, amidst sudden pitch darkness as Newbie’s voice deepens to an inhuman bass. Mephistophelian music is heard) ..I – computed – the – 1349193136498th – decimal – place!

Bulldog: (shrieks incredulously) Aayiiiiiiiie! No, you didn’t!

Newbie: (solemnly) Yes, I did.

Bulldog: (Horrified) You heartless, vile, subhuman cretin! (Retreats to the corner, lies down, to assume fetal position and cower).

What the hell is overanalysis and what is so evil about it?

HazaaroN KHwahishaiN ‘eisee ke har KHwahish pe dam nikle
bohot nikle mere armaaN lekin fir bhee kam nikle
nikalna KHuld se aadam ka sunte aayaiN haiN lekin
bohot be_aabru hokar tere kooche se ham nikle
magar likhwaaye koee usko KHat, to hamse likhawaaye
huee subah aur ghar se kaan par rakhkar qalam nikle
mohabbat meiN naheeN hai farq jeene aur marne kaa
usee ko dekh kar jeete haiN jis kaafir pe dam nikle
KHuda ke waaste parda na kaabe se uThaa zaalim
kaheeN ‘eisa na ho yaaN bhee wohee kaafir sanam nikle
kahaaN maiKHaane ka darwaaza ‘GHalib’ aur kahaaN waaiz
par itana jaante haiN kal wo jaata tha ke ham nikle

— Mirza Ghalib (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)

Swanand Kirkire’s Bawra Mann from the movie Hazaaron khwahishen aisi.
bawra mann dekhne chala ek sapna…

bawre se mann ki dekho bawri hain baatein,
bawre se mann ki dekho bawri hain baatein,
bawri si dharkanein hain, bawri hain saasein,
bawri si karwaton se nindiya door bhage,
bawre se nain chahe bawre jharokhon se, bawre nazaaron ko takna.

bawra mann dekhne chala ek sapna,
bawra mann dekhne chala ek sapna…

bawre se iss jahan mein bawara ek saath ho,
iss sayani bheed mein bas haathon mein tera haath ho,
bawri si dhun ho koi, bawra ek raag ho,
bawre se pair chahe, bawre taranon pein,bawre se bol pe thirakna.

bawra mann dekhne chala ek sapna,
bawra mann dekhne chala ek sapna…

bawra sa ho andhera, bawri khamoshiyan,
bawra sa ho andhera, bawri khamoshiyan,
thartharati louh maddham, bawri madhoshiyan,
bawra ek ghoongta chahe, haule haule mooh batae,
bawra ek ghoongta chahe, haule haule din batae, bawre se mukhre se sarakna.

bawra man dekhne chala ek sapna,
bawra man dekhne chala ek sapna…

bawra mann dekhne chala ek sapna,

Check out this insightful (imo) take on how behavioral economics can address normative questions. It argues against assumptions of people as hyper-rationalistic agents as bases for economic models.

I suspect this tendency is true at a layman level as well. On one hand (normal) people understand and rationalize what is considered (- and all too common in conversations -) “human nature”, but when posed normative questions, people apply rationalistic principles. I think this also contains a pointer to how people’s responses to hypothetical scenarios from questionnaires do not necessarily represent their behaviour when actually faced with said situations. Example: A lack of sales of goods for which people indicated demand in market surveys.

(Also, this paper made me speculate a bit on how hypnosis works.)